N. Korea holds national mourning for Kim Jong-Il

Agence France-Presse
North Korea held a national memorial service on Sunday, March 25, to mark the 100th day since the death of leader Kim Jong-Il, with the whole country "wrapped in an atmosphere of mourning

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea held a national memorial service on Sunday, March 25, to mark the 100th day since the death of leader Kim Jong-Il, with the whole country “wrapped in an atmosphere of mourning,” state media said.

Flags flew at half-mast nationwide, sirens and whistles sounded at noon and citizens observed 3 minutes’ silence “in the humblest reverence”, the KCNA news agency said.

“All institutions, industrial establishments, construction sites, rural and fishery farms, schools, streets, villages and families across the country were overcome with grief,” it reported.

Kim Jong-Un, Kim’s son and successor as leader, attended the service along with senior party, state and military officials.

They also visited the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where Kim Jong-Il’s body is to be put on display, to observe a moment’s silence and pay respects before a smiling portrait of the former longtime leader.

Kim Jong-Il died on December 17 of a heart attack at the age of 69 and his untested son, aged in his late 20s, has been proclaimed as the “great successor”.

Tensions with the international community have risen since the North this month announced plans for a rocket launch to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of founding president Kim Il-Sung, Kim Jong-Il’s father.

Pyongyang says the launch, between April 12 and 16, will put a peaceful satellite into orbit.

The plan has been condemned by the United States, South Korea and other nations as a pretext for a long-range missile test banned by the United Nations.

The proposed launch is expected to dominate discussions on the sidelines of a nuclear security summit opening Monday in Seoul, to be attended by US President Barack Obama and other world leaders.

The North held a funeral on December 28 in snowbound Pyongyang, with Kim Jong-Un walking beside his father’s hearse as tens of thousands of troops and civilians lined the streets. – Agence France-Presse